Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh – Tommy was the heartbeat of
one of the most successful hurling teams of all time.
New series. Amongst the sporting legends to feature are:
Dónal Óg Cusack
Dónal Óg Cusack is synonymous with Cork hurling, and played a key role as goalkeeper during a successful era in the late 1990’s and 2000’s. He speaks about the highs and lows he experienced, from being central to a new hurling style, to winning All Ireland titles, to disagreements with the Cork GAA County Board which resulted in 3 separate strikes. Cited by many as one of the most influential inter-county players of his generation, through his championing of the cause of player welfare with Cork, as chairman of the GPA and his innovation as a goalkeeper, Dónal Óg became the first openly gay elite Irish sportsman in 2009. Contributions also from Diarmuid O’Sullivan, Donal O’Grady, Eddie Brennan and Eoin Kelly.
Dara Ó Cinnéide
Kerry Footballers emerged from their longest ever barren period in the mid 1990s. An Ghaeltacht Club rose from Junior B ranks to the biggest day of all- St Patrick’s Day between the years 1991 and 2004. One man who was an integral member of both teams was sharpshooter Dara Ó Cinnéide, who looks back candidly at both teams’ rise from the ashes. Contributions also from Tomás Ó Sé, Peter Canavan, and Seán Óg de Paor.
Pete Finnerty was a teak tough wing back for Galway hurlers in the 1980s and he was part of their superb half-back line. They played in five All-Ireland finals between 1985 and 1990, winning two in ’87 and ’88. He casts an honest and hunourous eye back on his playing days, with contributions also from Pat Fleury, Cyril Farrell and Tony Keady.
Eamonn O’Hara spent nearly twenty years playing football for Sligo. He won eight county titles with his club Tourlestrane over this time, and became one of Ireland’s best known midfield players. With the advent of the Qualifiers Sligo got a chance to play teams outside of Connacht, and had some very famous victories in the years that followed including one over Kildare and Tyrone. In 2002 Eamonn won an All-Star Award after an outstanding year of football. In 2007 after thirty two years waiting, Sligo and Eamonn won a Connacht Title.
Tommy Walsh was the heart beat of one of the most successful hurling teams of all time. He won 9 All Ireland medals, 7 national leagues and a hurler of the year award. He is also the only player ever to have won 9 All stars in a row. The tenacious Tullaroan man speaks about what motivates him, Kilkenny’s success and passing on the number five shirt to his brother. Contributions also from Eddie Brennan, Eoin Kelly, Cathal Moore and Donal O’ Grady.
Cliodhna O’Connor enjoyed a long career with Dublin’s Ladies Footballers between 2003 and 2014, during which she played in five All-Ireland Finals, but only winning one, in 2010. She was one of the finest goalies in the game and she casts an honest eye back on her playing career. Sorcha Furlong, Valerie Mulcahy and Brian Tyers also contribute.
Pat Fox played senior hurling for Tipperary from 1980 to 1996 but it would be 1987 before the county renewed their place at the top table. He was a deadly corner-forward between the years 1987 to 1993, especially in 1991, when he was Hurler of the Year. Contributions also from Pat Fleury, Donal O’Grady and Joe Hayes.
Sean, Brendan and Michael Lowry, three brothers from Ferbane, played for Offaly between 1972 and 1992. It was Seán who started out first in 1972 and won an All Ireland that same year as his brothers watched on from the sidelines. Almost 10 years later and after little success, Brendan and Micahel joined the team. All three brothers took to the field when they beat Kerry in the 1982 All Ireland Final, regarded as one of the greatest matches ever. They say success runs in the blood, and in 2009 Brendan’s son Shane won the Irish Open golf championship as an amatuer.
Between 1994 & 2006 Seánie McMahon was regarded as one of the greatest centre backs in the country. During that period he won 2 All Ireland Titles with Clare as well as a “Player of the year’ award in 1995, but the road to Croke Park was full of challenges. In 1994, after his a poor display against Limerick in the Munster Final, Seanie’s place on the team was under threat and again in 1995 after breaking his collarbone. But despite these incidents he came back each time better and stronger than ever. He retired in 2006 as the highest scoring back ever in the hurling championship.
Owen Mulligan won All Ireland Minor, Under21 and Senior titles with his native Tyrone. The Cookstown Father Rocks man was an integral part of Tyrone’s march to their first ever All Ireland Senior success in 2003. He was widely known for his bleached blonde hair and outrageous skill. He speaks about how the death of Cormac McAnallen impacted the team, that wonder goal in 2005 and how it transformed his season and his relationship with Peter Canavan. Contributions also from; Peter Canavan, Tomás Ó Sé and Jarlath Burns.